It's the little things

August 04, 2009 11:56 AM

We often hear about huge amounts of waste in the public sector: quangos; MPs’ expenses; extravagant executive pay. What tend to go unnoticed are the smaller examples. Talking to a Chartered Accountant this morning, I was informed that HMRC recently sent out pension coding forms to accountants’ offices for completion. These forms give ‘new’ pensioners the correct PAYE code.

However, the forms – generated by HMRC’s new software – did not have the name of the taxpayer anywhere on them. Unable to proceed, the accountant phoned HMRC’s helpdesk and was told to ‘bin the forms’. One assumes that this process was replicated in accountancy firms across the country.

It is impossible to aggregate the cost of small examples of waste as they are generally unaccounted for, but I suspect that the number would be rather large. 

We often hear about huge amounts of waste in the public sector: quangos; MPs’ expenses; extravagant executive pay. What tend to go unnoticed are the smaller examples. Talking to a Chartered Accountant this morning, I was informed that HMRC recently sent out pension coding forms to accountants’ offices for completion. These forms give ‘new’ pensioners the correct PAYE code.

However, the forms – generated by HMRC’s new software – did not have the name of the taxpayer anywhere on them. Unable to proceed, the accountant phoned HMRC’s helpdesk and was told to ‘bin the forms’. One assumes that this process was replicated in accountancy firms across the country.

It is impossible to aggregate the cost of small examples of waste as they are generally unaccounted for, but I suspect that the number would be rather large. 

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